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How To Be Around Parents Who Are Negative And Suck Your Energy?

Discussion in 'Parents & Siblings' started by hridhaya, Sep 28, 2017.

  1. hridhaya

    hridhaya Gold IL'ite

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    Friends,

    My parents are temporarily staying with me and my family. It has been around 4 months now and living with them is not easy, especially my mother who is 70 years old and maintains a good health.

    I have had a horrific past with her before my marriage and she created lot of issues for me. Somehow I got past the troublesome period and leading a good life now. She is back and am losing my sanity.

    My father and mother don't get along and constantly argue and fight. They are not compatible in any way which is sad. My mother constantly looks up to her children (my brother and I) to fill the void in her life. We have tried our best (believe me here) in many ways but she is never happy. She continues to dwell in her sorrows and hold us back. As an individual too, she is extemely negative and complaining in nature about people and life. She wants me to babysit her constantly and I am tired of going back to old days when she was my only concern. Now I have my family to look after and I need my space. It took me a lot of effort and screams to make her understand that things are different now. She continues to be withdrawn from everything and it is affecting my character. I am unable to be happy and constantly wondering what to do with this woman. She will return to live with my brother in few months but I feel very sad for their life. With her around, no one can really be happy.

    I admire women who smile a lot and have a life of their own and who strive to keep them occupied. My mother is not interested in anything in particular but acts like she is talented and everyone else, except her, is the reason for her failure. I try to uplift her mood and insist that she comes outside with me.She would reply that she is not interested and does not want to go anywhere. Later she would question what I have done to her to make her happy. I can never expect her to come forward and take responsibility about anything, small or big.She has never maintained relationships with my father's family and we have completely lost connection with them and their whereabouts. Even she doesn't like to welcome anyone from her own family. We have become like an island and there is no love inside this dysfunctional family.

    On the whole, I am unable to lead an independent life ignoring her and am turning gloomy and bored. I am motivated by people who have enthusiastic outlook about life inspite of their setbacks. How much ever I work to change things around, I feel some force is always pulling me back and I will never suceed in breaking the invisible shell around me. I wonder about life of children who have happy relationship with their parents and I know I will never get the warmth and have to live with this everlasting pain.I envy those who are cheerful about their life. I am never able to engage fully with other people or friends because I am never at ease with myself. I am unable to socialize because I have ever running thoughts about this monster in my head. I am forced to be in an ever alert mode about the consequences of my behaviour and this affects my normal behaviour and my friends think I am a recluse.

    Today I happen to spend extra time with a friend in my apartment building because some navaratri event was going on. I got delayed and this was unplanned. After I got home, she got mad at me because I didn't inform her about the event and she would have loved to attend the same. I retorted back telling her to shut up and not create much ado about nothing. She is now threatening she wants to go back to my hometown because things went over the top. I am keeping all these matters under the wraps from my husband as things would get even messier. She will also wreck my brother's family if she happens to leave in unhappy mood.

    My dad is no help. He was born in a village and his interests are mainly eating and leading a simple life. Although he is contrast in nature to my mom and liked by everyone, he is very timid. He is incapable of handling my mother's emotions and lets her loose. I think if they were more compatible, the kids would not burdened like this. To be frank, I don't see the situation improving until the inevitable strikes....

    I have lost lots of happy moments starting from my childhood which normally happen to a person. Life is short, I am in fear of losing the remaining.
     
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  2. KavyaKMV

    KavyaKMV New IL'ite

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    This is a really weird post. I've never come across someone who does not want or like her mom staying with her. There is something very wrong about your relationship. I can understand women not liking the company of their mother in law, father in law etc. The answer to this question lies in the past. I don't want it is that initially damaged your relationship with her, but you need to find out what it is and reconcile with her.
     
  3. MalStrom

    MalStrom IL Hall of Fame

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    If your parents are in good health why can't they live by themselves?
     
    deepthyanoop and sindmani like this.
  4. KavyaKMV

    KavyaKMV New IL'ite

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    What kind of question is this? It's good to have parents around. They will also like to meet their grandkids etc.
    If her parents were not in good health, I don't think it may have been possible for them to visit her. I'm longing for my parents to visit me but they are busy. They want me to visit them and it's difficult but I meet them once a year at the very least.
     
  5. MalStrom

    MalStrom IL Hall of Fame

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    Good for you, but why is it hard for you to understand that other people may have different relationships with their parents?
     
  6. Naari

    Naari Platinum IL'ite

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    I think one of the requisites (or let's say it's recommended) for responders on this forum is to have an open mind & understand that there are many different type of ppl & relationships in this world.. with that in mind, let's always try to help the querists /OPs here & not make them feel abnormal.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2017
  7. sindmani

    sindmani Platinum IL'ite

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    True
     
  8. sokanasanah

    sokanasanah IL Hall of Fame

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    OP, I have come across ultra-negative people like this. I think of them as emotional vampires. They can suck the life out of you if you let them. Luckily, in my case, they are not underfoot all the time. The situation is difficult for you since you are dealing with aged parents. You cannot avoid them, definitely not in the Indian scheme of things. You cannot change your mother. You have to manage the interaction.

    The sort of change you might wish for requires a level of meta-cognition that is often beyond even fairly intelligent, educated people with psycho-social savvy. Your mother probably does not even have the psychological vocabulary needed to process her own state of mind, behavior, how it might affect those around her or the repercussions thereof. These things first require awareness, then recognition, then an admission of responsibility (at least partial) and finally a motivation to change things and a willingness to seek help to do it. A seventy-year-old woman who grew up in an Indian village may not be the prime candidate for all this. It is a vicious cycle - negativity breeds a lack of interest, that lack of engagement outside the self encourages brooding and an inchoate resentment toward the world. Such people are like whinging, self-absorbed children without the cuteness or the promise of growth. It takes a lot of restraint not to slap them.

    The best thing you can do is to create a buffer for yourself. Stay busy, use headphones and music, cultivate companionable silence, go out, recharge as often as you need to with solitude or the company of other more cheerful people. Get systematic about this, to the extent of scheduling away-time.

    When you feel compelled to listen to her, learn to uncouple her words from your emotions. Let words simply become sounds. Consciously focus on your triggers and practice decoupling. Drain her language of all content in your mind. This may sound hard, but you can manage it with practice. It is sort of like ignoring jackhammers outside your flat or that blaring street music that intrudes on one's sanity during our festivals and elections. Quite unbearable, but then one learns to ignore it nevertheless. Meditative awareness can help you cultivate this ability.

    Keep your responses neutral. They need not be anything more than "I hear you" or "I see what you're saying" or "I see how you feel." That's it. Do not engage in analysis, agree or disagree. Treat it as you would bad weather. Simply acknowledge and carry your umbrella.

    If you want to draw her attention to something she is doing that is very upsetting for you, then let her know, but keep it completely concrete. Do not strive for understanding or deep change. Just seek a specific modification of behavior. Ask for it politely, clearly, unambiguously, repeatedly. Keep the request finely circumscribed.

    Periodically ask her to do little things with you - go to the temple, a film (you sit in silence in the dark, together!), whatever. If she demurs, then let it go without fuss and carry on. This is just so that you know you tried and somewhere in her mind, she does as well.

    The goal of all this is to be available to your mother as a dutiful daughter, but not manipulable as a target of her frustrations.

    Good Luck!:beer-toast1:
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2017
    kishoremommy, DXBDesi, msm and 14 others like this.
  9. Naari

    Naari Platinum IL'ite

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    @sokanasanah great tips there , I was reading & thinking even the Mil troubled crowd could use this, also a couple of ppl who feel traumatized by irresponsible things uncles & aunties say as also strangers.. am saving this..
     
  10. deepthyanoop

    deepthyanoop Gold IL'ite

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    You are being sooo judgemental here.People comes in different shades dear. Don't compare your familial background or your familiar ones with the rest of the world. Please google and read about Narcissistic mothers!!
     
    sbonigala, Sunshine04, sai023 and 5 others like this.

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